Usually when I’m on long bike rides or runs or swimming back and forth in the pool I write in my head. I write essays, brainstorm ideas, talk stream of consciousness to myself (silently), work out first drafts of stories. Lots of that stuff doesn’t make it into anything final, but it’s a process. I’m pretty sure there’s even scientific stuff that backs me up on this as related to creativity.
It wasn’t until last Saturday when I was running through China Camp and writing something in my head about casual misogyny that I realized I hadn’t done that in a long time. I hadn’t had any thoughts during workouts since definitely before my accident, possibly before going to Arizona. It’s been a long time since I was not tired enough to think anything other than ‘just a little bit more, just a little bit more, just a little bit more.’
I actually haven’t written anything outside of work since December. ‘Write everyday’ was one of my New Years’ resolutions, but I’ve just been too tired. Instead of writing or working or even thinking, I mostly just sit on the couch and watch a lot of TV. Like a lot. Like ask me anything about anything on the TV. Just don’t ask me to get off the couch.
People told me that Ironman Tired was a thing, that training for an Ironman would wear you down and out, that your life would go on hold for months, your house would be a mess and the laundry would pile up. And, I was like, ‘joke’s on you, that shit’s already true.’
And, anyway, I wasn’t even training that much. I haven’t even been training that much. My perception of Ironman Tired may be slightly distorted, since most people training for Ironmans don’t also smash their teeth out and tear a muscle in their foot. Most of my tired may be from those things and not from working towards what is on my schedule in 8 weeks from now. But, with that caveat, my tired is a slow simmering tired. It’s the kind of tired that comes after months of sleeping just not quite enough. Not that you got no sleep or even very little sleep. Not the kind of tired after an all-nighter or an early morning, but the kind that comes when you just didn’t exactly get enough sleep, so that the first day you yawn a bit and the second day you rub your eyes some and crack your neck and by the end of the first week you think you maybe should start drinking coffee and then one day, when you’re almost fully functioning and you look for all appearances like a normal person (a little rung out maybe but normal), you find yourself staring at a freeway exit or a computer screen or a wall and you’re not sure how you got there or what you’re supposed to do and you can’t remember how anyone ever did your job in the first place — where does someone even start and are you sure they won’t just pay you for staring at this computer instead?
It’s like that except that you’re actually sleeping lots. Or at least laying in bed lots.
That’s what Ironman tired has been like for me. It’s been a bit like what I’m told depression is. It’s hard to notice until one day you’re not tired anymore. You’re strong and you’re sort of skinny and, hopefully, you’ll be fast. And, extra bonus, you’ll be able to think straight too.